Businessman Mark Jacobs is laying the groundwork for a run at the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate. He has formed an exploratory committee to consider a bid for the seat currently held by Democrat Tom Harkin. Jacobs tells TheIowaRepublican.com that he will meet with Iowans around the state before making a final decision on whether or not to officially enter the race.
“Iowa’s a big state. There’s a lot of miles to put on the car and a lot of gas to put in the tank and a lot of cups of coffee to buy to have a chance to get around and visit with people face to face,” Jacobs said. “One of the important lessons that I’ve learned in my business career is that, in order to get things done and solve problems, you’ve got to build consensus. That means you really need to understand issues at a grassroots level.”
Jacobs has spent the past several months traveling Iowa and advocating on behalf of improving the state’s education system. He founded an organization called Reaching Higher Iowa, which called for greater accountability from our public schools. Jacobs was a big supporter of the education reform proposals Governor Branstad was championing. Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds spoke at a forum hosted by Jacobs’ organization in May.
“Over the course of those travels, I started to have people come to me and say you are exactly the type of person that ought to be running for the U.S. Senate,” Jacobs told TheIowaRepublican.com. “Once my name started to get out there, as I continued to travel to get around the state, that chorus really started to snowball, and so what I’m doing here is really taking this to the next stop and adding a little bit more formality in what I’m planning to do here in the next couple of months.”
Mark Jacobs grew up in Des Moines and graduated from Roosevelt High School in 1980. He earned his bachelors degree from Southern Methodist University and an MBA from Northwestern University. Jacobs became one of the youngest Fortune 500 company CEOs in the nation when he took over the helm at Reliant Energy in 2007. Jacobs returned to Iowa last year with his wife and three children, settling in West Des Moines.
“I had the privilege of growing up in this state and developing a strong set of Iowa values that have always been with me wherever I’ve lived,” Jacobs told TheIowaRepublican.com. “My experience in the business world, having gone into some very difficult situations and getting people aligned and getting things done, I think there’s a lot of parallels for what I see, the experience I’ve had in the business community, to some of the challenges we have in Washington today.”
Jacobs says he is frustrated with the inability of Congress to get things done for the benefit of the citizens and believes someone with his background could make a difference in Washington, D.C. The former energy sector executive has donated to GOP causes and campaigns in the past and says he is a lifelong Republican.
If Jacobs decides to run for the U.S. Senate seat, he would have a financial advantage over the other Republican candidates because he has the resources to self-fund a campaign if necessary. Jacobs anticipates making a final decision on whether or not to officially enter the race within the next two or three months.
“When I was CEO of Reliant, one of the favorite parts of the job I had was to go visit our power plants and spend time with our frontline workers,” Jacobs said. “I learned an awful lot in those conversations, when you talk to people at a grassroots level. I have every bit of confidence this is going to be equally rewarding, what I go through over the next couple of months.”
Republicans Sam Clovis, Matt Whitaker and David Young have officially entered the U.S. Senate race. At least three other Republicans are seriously considering a bid. Congressman Bruce Braley is the only Democrat running.
Photo courtesy of Reaching Higher Iowa
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